SOUTH FORSYTH — In its third and final redistricting draft for two new schools set to open in fall 2016, a committee recommended the Forsyth County Board of Education not make any changes from the second map.
The draft the board approved last month for Brandywine Elementary and DeSana Middle schools has stirred concern from hundreds of parents who do not want their children moved from their current campuses — mostly Piney Grove and Vickery Creek middle schools.
Both new schools, as well as the forthcoming Denmark High School, will be located between McFarland Parkway, Union Hill Road and Hwy. 9. Denmark is scheduled to open in fall 2018.
Parents have aired grievances about moving from their communities to a new one on the other side of Peachtree Parkway (Hwy. 141).
“It’s not their section of the world,” said school board member Kristin Morrissey, whose District 2 covers the affected area.
Morrissey has mirrored parents’ concerns on moving their students — many of whom were redistricted two years ago to relieve crowding at Midway Elementary — to an area that has the county’s highest projection of future growth.
She has previously said that in an ideal world the neighborhoods that do not want to be redistricted — there at least 10 — would be able to stay put.
The main reasoning for moving them comes from the base number of 750 students required to receive full funding to open a middle school.
As the map proposes, DeSana would open with 807 students, or at 78 percent capacity.
Piney Grove would begin the year with 890 students, or 86 percent capacity.
District 3’s Tom Cleveland said if the students in question remain at Piney Grove, the school would start off the year at about 110 percent capacity, while DeSana would not have enough students to reach that funding threshold.
Future growth in the area will solve that in the next year or two, Morrissey said.
“Not all of them will be there in August 2016, but a lot more will be there in August 2017,” she said.
Growth in the area, she said, likely will result in DeSana topping capacity by 2018 and then the board possibly having to move students back to Piney Grove.
While changing schools is rarely welcomed, Ann Crow of District 1 said south Forsyth is an area of rapid growth and change.
“Leaving one school that’s grossly overcrowded and one that’s not full, I just don’t think we can do that,” she said.
Darla Light, who chairs the board and represents District 4, said future growth is included in the capacity projections and taken into account during redistricting boundary lines.
She noted the district’s staff has not been off by a significant number yet.
Ten schools look to be impacted by the redrawn lines if this draft is approved Nov. 19. Board members have the liberty to approve the draft as is or to vote on changes.